The Egos Have Landed
Until Patricia Calhoun's "The Princess and the Peons," in the September 11 issue, it looked like you'd lost interest in the Ramsey case. Too bad. I was hoping you could shed some light on the weird dance being performed by the police and the DA. Is this the Colorado two-step? Isn't Boulder a pretty small town for such enormous egos?
via the Internet
Calhoun, you miss the point: The reason Patsy Ramsey and Reverend Lyons compared themselves to Princess Diana is because they, too, are tired of being hounded by media slime--a category that includes you.
Regarding "What a Rush!," by Tony Perez-Giese and T.R. Witcher, in the September 11 issue:
Apparently the Boulder authorities are no more able to stop fraternity drinking than they are able to solve the murder of JonBenet Ramsey. Imagine my surprise.
The "students" who were featured in the article about underage drinking and grievances against the police department in Boulder are nauseating. I am enraged to see these little brats whining about their "rights" and demanding that the police "leave them alone" so that they can exercise their "choice" to get stinking drunk and ruin life in Boulder for everyone else.
It appears from this story that here is yet another group of young white males who believe they are entitled to do as they please, and screw the laws and the rights of other people who also live here. If I had the choice, I would refuse to give my tax dollars that keep the tuition artificially low for these ungrateful jerks. In-state tuition at CU-Boulder has been reported to be around $1,100 per semester. Preschool in Boulder costs more than that, at $500 to $800 per month!
Pay attention, boys, and tell me which word you do not understand: You are not allowed to drink alcohol before you are 21 years old. And you do not belong in a civilized society if you think that obnoxious, destructive behavior will persuade voters to change the law. Grow up. If you break the law, the police are going to do their jobs and make sure you are taken to a place where you can't hurt anyone else. Why is this such a surprise to you?
As a taxpayer, my support of the officers who enforce the law is unconditional. I think that if you checked with the real adults in Boulder, you would find zero tolerance for your temper tantrums. Just one time, think of something besides yourselves and your compulsive demands for immediate gratification. Think about the families who have tragically lost loved ones in drunk-driving accidents. Think about the assaults perpetrated by you intoxicated thugs on innocent acquaintances, girlfriends, wives and children. Think about the families that you might have one day and the terrible destruction wreaked by alcoholic fathers and mothers. Do you have to experience this yourself before you figure out that the binges are not worth it?
If my hard-earned tax dollars must support your opportunity to attend college, the least you can do is build a meaningful life that benefits others and is not wasted on drinking and drugging binges. Redirect all that energy to useful projects--start with hospital trauma units, battered-women's shelters and foster homes for children. The self-respect and pride you experience may help you realize that your life is too valuable to be thrown away at the bottom of a bottle.
Name withheld on request
I don't want to act as if your Rush story had no validity; however, it poorly represented the fraternity system. Not all fraternities are insurance nightmares. I am a member of a fraternity at the University of Denver, and I can speak from experience that it isn't about drinking, parties or rioting. The fraternity system is about brotherhood. Standing behind one another through the toughest of times, emotional as well as physical. It's about improving on one's education and adding to the college experience. Yes, one of the aspects is that of being social...but that doesn't mean getting drunk and out of control. This shouldn't be solely the responsibility of a fraternity; individuals should take responsibility for knowing when to say when.
My reason for writing to you is to point out the fraternities that are doing a good job. A good job at not just handling parties, but also furthering the education of men across the nation. This summer I attended a national leadership conference sponsored by the international headquarters of my fraternity. There I was given many leadership skills that can help--not only in fraternity life, but also in my personal life. I owe a great deal to my fraternity and all that it has done for me.
In closing, I simply request that next time you choose to degrade the fraternity system in general, please take a look at more campuses than just one. CU has had many problems stemming not only from the Greek system, but also from the lack of communication between fraternities, the campus and the police. While DU has its share of problems in the Greek system, we don't riot, we do give to charities, we do community service, we do foster leadership, and we do take care of one another.
It's nice to see things haven't changed since my fraternity days at CU ten years ago. It's still the same old homophobia, misogyny and alcohol abuse. What is funny, though, is all the gay men I've met from various fraternities (including Sig Ep, SAE, Phi Delt, Kappa Sig, Delta U, etc.). If only the brothers in the houses knew. I know many guys from my chapter alone who are gay/bisexual. And I'm sure that many of the "men" in the fraternities still refer to the "Take Back the Night" marches as "Take Back the Dyke."
Unfortunately, the ideals fraternities often espouse in their handbooks fall by the wayside when it comes to real life. But when these attitudes are prevalent at the top of the national organizations, who can expect better from the local chapters?
As for the alcohol abuse, I recall a time in the mid-Eighties when the Interfraternity Council was pushing booze-free rushes. That time, it lasted about two semesters. And it's not just Rush Week where the alcohol flows freely, there's Hell, er, Pledge Initiation Week. But that's a whole other story.
via the Internet
It was interesting to get the perspective of the frats, but I wonder if something wasn't missing--like what's going on at the sororities. Much of the coverage since the riots focused only on frats and forgot about sororities. For example, the writers mentioned in passing that sororities are banned from alcohol parties. Why? Is it from their will or a policy that was instituted by the campus or their chapters? What are the women doing, and are they happy about the policy?
I mean, the cops had enough "insight" to figure out that the guys serve booze to get girls drunk. Duh. Did it help with rapes? Are policies like this worth violating the rights of those over 21? There is more to this story, and I'd really like to see someone cover it.
via the Internet
I'm an angry reader of your writing on the CU Greek system and how bad we are. It was an absolutely stereotypical article. Some of the stuff you had to make up, because I don't know one person in the Greek system who's that stupid. I was really unimpressed.
Name withheld on request
See What Develops
I read Eric Dexheimer's "Spaced Out," in the September 11 issue, with great interest. The article was well-written and informative. However, on display was a certain amount of hypocrisy that has been found to permeate this issue.
Craig and Rhonda Lis are a prime example. They are saying, "We've got ours, now let's slam the door." They move into a brand-new subdivision (ironically, fought against by others) adjoining privately owned open space and then flip when their view may be built on.
I do agree that growth is out of control statewide, with the Front Range being the biggest part of the problem. However, being a native of Massachusetts, I am also part of the problem and usually don't make much of this issue. The Lises and, to a lesser extent, the others are a good example of the pot calling the kettle black.
Current, parochial and simple-minded anti-growth groups are no match for developers and their friends in government. More important, slogans like "Nimby," "1 percent growth" and "Go Home" do not constitute an intelligent approach to a very complex problem. Low-density, for instance, isn't a panacea, it's creating the worst of all possible worlds--de facto Los Angelization.
We need to unite under some form of metropolitan government with clear priorities and coordinated management. With the Portland model and complementary transit system as our tools, we can remain prosperous while controlling sprawl, congestion, pollution, etc. Moderate densities of the look and feel of the New Urbanism with mixed-use neighborhoods should be our goal. These new neighborhooods should only be built next to existing development, and all of it must be confined to a growth perimeter.
"But newcomers don't want moderate density, they want sterile, isolated homes in isolated neighborhoods." Precisely. The growth rate will slow to a modest clip when people learn they can't carve up the Front Range any way they please.
Many thanks to Stuart Steers and Eric Dexheimer for their excellent reporting on growth. It's nice to know some local journalists feel a responsibility to focus on the local issue.
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